For whatever reason, I’ve put off sitting down to watch Would You Rather, for as long as possible. In my younger years, I would dive into any low budget, independent film balls first, and ask questions later. As the economy takes a nosedive down the toilet, and digital entertainment dominates the rental market, the fact that to rent a movie in HD on the VOD platform of your choice, costs about 3 times as much as it would have back in the good old days when we walked three miles, uphill and in the snow to our local video stores, causes me to take pause on titles I don’t know much about. The premise of Would You Rather didn’t intrigue me in the least. What did interest me, was the overwhelmingly positive reception, as well as recommendations that came from several friends. Couple that, with the arrival of a Blu Ray to review, and I have a perfect excuse to take the plunge.
The concept of Would You Rather is fairly simple. If you ever played the game(would you rather) as a child, you know pretty much what to expect. Except here, the odds are much greater. A wealthy family has assembled a group of downtrodden people, in desperate need for money, and have pit them against one another in a violent and demented version of the classic children’s game. If all of your life’s problems can be solved by causing harm to others, rather than causing harm to yourself, how far would you go to win the prize.
Headlining this little film is Jefferey Combs, who most of you should recognize as Dr. Herbert West, from the Re-Animator films. The rest of the cast is filled with competent actors who you will probably recognize, but not be able to place. It is, for the most part, a well acted movie. There are no major issues in that department, that would otherwise take you out of the film. The production is sleek-looking, and well photographed. A couple of days ago, I would have said that the film looks fantastic for a lower budgeted movie, but after seeing Jeremy Gardner’s “The Battery”, which was shot for a mere six thousand dollars, I would probably call this a serviceable low budget film.
There are some fairly violent moments in this film, but it is definitely not one for the gorehounds. Most of the nastier bits, such as a man being forced to slice his own eyeball with a razor, are done off-screen. There is a little bit of blood and penetration of sharp objects, but you can tell that they didn’t spend the majority of their budget on special effects. It is really more of a thriller than it is a straight up horror movie, as much as I hate that classification. This isn’t hostel, people haven’t been kidnapped, nor are they being tortured. They have elected to be here, though they didn’t know exactly how twisted the competition they agreed to would be, they had to have known it would have been some kind of bad.
By the end of the film, you will want every person involved with the family hosting the game to die. This much I can assure you. It’s not that the contestants are extremely likable. Everybody is pretty much interchangeable, it’s just that Jefferey Combs and company does such a wonderful job at coming across as snobby, rich, self-entitled scumbags, that it filled me with great rage, and the wish to do bodily harm to said characters. Is the payoff worth all of the rage that one might experience while viewing this film? No. Not really, but I will say that it is a fun ride to get to the end, even if that end leaves a little to be desired.
If you enjoy subtle, yet extremely competently crafted films that have managed to fly mostly under the radar, I’d recommend checking Would You Rather out. It can be acquired for rather cheap on DVD and Blu Ray, and of course you can still find it to rent on Amazon Instant, iTunes, as well as pretty much every other major Video On Demand service. Would You Rather is being released onto both home video formats Tomorrow, from IFC Midnight, and MPI Media Group.